x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The work-from-home reality

While the idea of working from home seems a great option for both members of a working couple, the reality is far from easy.

Work-from-home reality

Last week, Mr T and I were told we have acute sinusitis by a well-meaning doctor. Sinusitis, I learnt, is the medical term for feeling like your eyeballs are about to pop out of your head every time you dare to bend down or cough or chuckle.

I had become very tired of subjecting my colleagues at work to the honking and braying that occurred like clockwork every half-hour, every time I had to blow my nose. So a work-from-home day was the only solution. I set up an impromptu work station on the couch and marvelled that I could accomplish so much in my pyjamas. Why do all of us go to the office, again?

Close to noon, I heard a key in the lock. Apparently, my husband's colleagues also did not appreciate the sniffing and sniffling, and advised him to go get some bed rest before he infected the building. He, too, settled in front of his laptop. And we both agreed that a doctor's appointment was inevitable.

At 2:15pm, we headed to our appointments. By 3:30, we were on our way to the pharmacy for the necessary antibiotics. Then, at approximately 4pm on a sunny afternoon, Mr T developed a coughing fit while driving, and promptly crashed into an Egyptian gentleman's car.

What ensued was a perfect example of plans gone awry with an extreme dose of irony. Instead of working from home and getting the much-needed rest we required to get back on track, we spent the next three hours waiting for traffic police, making amends with the disgruntled driver, listening to the car-crash experiences of all the bystanders who swarmed the scene, wrestling with Mr T's ripped tire and failing to get it changed, idling and waiting for a tow truck to make an appearance, and roasting in the afternoon sun.

That day, my husband surprised me with how adamant he was that a car-accident site was no place for a lady. He begged and pleaded, then demanded and ordered that I find a taxi and head to the confines of our air-conditioned home, but I would have none of that. What, and miss out on documenting our afternoon adventure?

"Well, wait in the car then, just sit inside and stop telling everyone I crashed because I'm sick," he offered as a compromise.

Eventually, I realised he was right. It was conspicuous that not a single female was to be found among the swarms of men who were gathered around the area, gesticulating with their arms and describing to those who had just arrived exactly how the accident happened. Are women not as curious, then? Not as willing to stand outside in the heat and while away part of the afternoon with an unexpected event?

I settled in the car for our wait and went back to work, thanks to the marvels of a BlackBerry. Work-from-home, work-from-the-car: what's the difference? If I learnt anything that day, it was that rest is overrated and being in the office is safe and predictable. So what if I need to blow my nose a lot more these days? My workmates can handle it.